Prince Edward County – Ontario’s Hippest Peninsula
Growing up, my first cousins were like extra sisters. We saw each other all the time and at one point, most of us even lived together. As we became adults, life was happening and we got busy living our own lives. Just like most humans, we stay in touch using social media. With COVID making it a tough year for all us, we were starting to feel the disconnection from one another. To socialize safely during the pandemic, we booked a house for all of us to stay for the weekend. Our destination of choice? P to the E to the C. Prince Edward County or The County for short, is a bountiful destination that has more to offer than a summer getaway. Here are a few reasons why you and your family should visit in the Fall.
PLEASE NOTE: This trip was from October 23rd – 25th 2020. When this blog was written there were no travel bans within South Eastern Ontario. Two weeks before our trip, we agreed to limit our movement and to self-quarantine before getting together. Please view this post as inspiration for a visit in the future. For now, Stay Home. Stay Safe. Save Lives. #StayHomeON
Stay At The Fitzroy Fieldhouse
Fitzroy Fieldhouse is a mid-century inspired home located in Wellington, Prince Edward County. When I first walked in I was immediately blown away by the layout and colour selection throughout this home. If I had three words to describe The Fitzroy it would be stylish, organized, and spotless.
This is a ranch style home which means all of the rooms are located on one floor. Don’t let that discourage you, there is plenty of space to move around. We were given a sweet welcome note that included thoughtful gifts like a Polaroid camera to use during our stay, sanitisers and a bottle of Pinot Noir from a nearby winery.
Having a kitchen was essential for our group since we would be eating in during our trip. The kitchen was open concept (morning dance parties) and well equipped with some added bonuses like a wine fridge and charcuterie boards. If you prefer natural light, you will love all the sunlight flooding in through the over-sized windows. The over-sized deck and fire pit was the perfect spot to curl up in the evenings. There’s also plenty of quiet privacy with big trees and picturesque views.
The living room had such an inviting vibe that in the evenings cozying up to the stûv fireplace, listening to records, and playing a few board games was an easy decision. It was nice knowing we had our own space to relax and feel at home.There were three spacious bedrooms with extra linens and heated blankets a laundry room, and a luxurious ensuite bathroom with double sinks, a soaker tub, and teak shower. To summarize everything, you can expect better than what you think you’re getting in the pictures!
What To Do
A Tour In A Glass
It seems like wherever you stay in The County, you’re bound to be nearby a winery, brewery, and cidery. And staying at The Fitzroy Fieldhouse was like staying at the hub of them all! We would have loved to indulge ourselves in a mixed wine tour, but due to COVID, we agreed that it would be best to limit the number of places we visited.
We found our happy place at The Grange Winery which also had a mobile cocktail bar! Our group is a mix of wine and spirit drinkers so hanging out here for the afternoon made the most sense. The Grange has moved their tasting outdoors where you can order either a self-guided tasting kit, wine by the glass, or a cocktail from the Old Salt Mobile Cocktail Bar.
We each ordered a tasting kit which allowed us to still have a wine tasting experience. Each kit came with:
An adorable keepsake tasting glass
4x 1oz wine in bottles
Tasting notes to help guide you
The story of the ‘Granger Girls’ (mother & daughter winemakers at the Grange)
Discount code for future purchases
The winning tastings were the Pinot Noir and the Spiced White aka Christmas in a Glass. Old-Salt Cocktails are a scale-up from your regular Gin & Tonic drink. Think smoked sea salt, ginger, and fresh cucumbers. These delicious delights will have you feeling boozy and bougee.
If you’re reading this in Fall 2021 (or beyond) I would suggest getting some hands-on experience in assisting a winery with their harvesting! Just reach out to some of the local wineries to find out how you can partake.
North Beach Provincial Park
Grab a cozy sweater and head down to North Beach Provincial Park – only 10 minutes away from Fitzroy Fieldhouse. This beach is known as the little sibling to Sandbanks and offers just as beautiful views of Lake Ontario. Give yourself plenty of time to admire the ocean like views and the warm tones of Autumn.
The Millennium Trail
Along with all of the other wonderful perks at the Fitzroy Fieldhouse, there’s also six bikes available for you to use (between April-November). Take the bikes out for a quick ride along The County and view the charming farms around every bend. If you’re like me and prefer to do your cycling on trails with no vehicles around, I would suggest The Millennium Trail. The Millennium Trail is 46-kilometres in length and stretches from Picton in the east to Conscecon in the west. The only vehicles allowed on the trail are the farm vehicles so you can feel more relaxed and take in the stunning views of farms, forests, lakes and wetlands that you pass by. If you’re looking to take a break from cycling, there are more than 30 access points that you can hop on and off from. Plan for an art crawl while you’re at it!
Unique Shopping Experiences
Gotta squeeze in a bit of shopping! Visit the shops on Main Street in Bloomfield and Picton for unique boutiques, vintage shops and home stores. Some of my favourites include: Dead People’s Stuff, Keep County, Books & Company, and Coriander Girl
Art Trails, Galleries & Studios
Meet the passionate and creative artists, take part in a workshop, or browse the beautiful galleries. The options are endless!
Campbells Orchards & Country Market
On our last day, we headed over to Campbells Orchards & Country Market, a locally owned and operated farmers market in Prince Edward County. Around this time of year, Campbell’s is brimming with 25 different apple varieties, field tomatoes and pumpkins. Plus, you can pick your own. Before you check out their corn maze and wagon ride, stop in Apple Falls Cider and try a delicious flight!
Where To Nosh
One things for sure, you won’t go hungry in The County! If you’re looking to taste the bounty of The County without the added work of sourcing goodies, I would recommend The County Picnic. What we liked most about this service is 1) Andrea comes to you and 2) Andrea sets up a mouth-watering spread that is 100% PEC-made products! Our pic-a-nic basket (in my best Yogi Bear impression) included the following:
The County Bounty Artisinal Soda
Fifth Town Artisan Cheeses
Manchego and Brie cheese from Lighthall Vineyards
Maple cheddar with cracked pepper from Black River Cheese
Mild csabai and black forrest ham from Ralphs Meat Market
PapaGhanoosh and MommaHummus
Spicy garlic & chilli dill pickles and pickled beets from 3 Angry Cats
Mediterranean olives and root vegetable hummus from The Agrarian Market
Apricot and jalapeno jelly from Gourmet Pleasures
Cinnamon and sugar donuts and fresh produce from Lakeshore Farms
My stomach is rumbling just thinking about this list! Everything was absolutely delicious and the amount of food we had was enough for dinner. It’s a good feeling to know that you’re supporting Prince Edward County’s culinary community.
If you’re visiting from October 30th – November 22nd 2020, then you’re just in time for Countylicious. It’s a celebration of the fall harvest with a Prixe Fixe menu from ten participating Countylicious restaurants These chefs are plating some seriously drool-worthy farm-to-table meals. If you’re unable to or uncomfortable with dining in, many of the chefs have created take out options for diners. All you need to do is set up a fancy table.
As you can see, The County has so much to offer any fall enthusiast. Cheers to cozy fall nights, local food, and perfect family getaways like this!